The Loch March Golf & Country Club in Kanata, Ontario is celebrating their 30th year in operation. To mark the occasion we sat down with founder and owner Mark Fuller to reflect on three decades of his premium public golf facility.
What’s new in the 30th Anniversary year at Loch March?
The biggest news in our 30th year is passing the reins. We’ve done this for 30 years and it seems like a lifetime, but I say that in a very positive way. Because of the experiences and the people we’ve gotten to touch, and the careers that the staff have had, many of them have been with me since before the course opened.
You know it has been a lifetime and it’s been a very good one. In our 30th year now we have passed the reins to GolfNorth. They are a great bunch of guys from Southern Ontario that own and operate almost 30 courses now and far-reaching now down to Eastern Canada. They understand what we are about. They understand where we’re from, they understand what we do, the way we do it and they would like to continue that.
So, I think we’ve got a great match. We maintain ownership of the golf course and they lease it from us.
So, some of your key people are still involved?
Absolutely, the transition was hugely seamless. I said the greatest windfall will be the people that we have because that’s what makes us what we are. So, Sid Witteveen our golf course superintendent who’s been with us since ’85 is on board to mentor the future superintendent going forward and he remains with us. Danielle Nadon (Head Professional), of course, continues to ply her trade at the place she loves. GolfNorth recognizes the importance as I do for them to continue what they do at the place that they love.
The average golfer coming out is not going to see any difference?
It is GolfNorth’s intention that a golfer will walk in to Loch March in the middle of the season hearing of the transition and not being able to recognize it.
Any plans for the golf course in the near future?
We’ve worked diligently for over 30 years. I’ve always said that a golf course is a living thing and the day we opened on July 10, 1987 there were so many great golf courses in this country that had an 80-90 or 100 year head start. If we were to be mentioned in the same breath down the road, we had some maturing to do and some catching up to do. The first 30 years were really dedicated to making Loch March all it could be. You know you can’t, for instance, clear-cut your vision of a fairway on day 1 because as foliage is exposed, you have to let it naturally progress and I think Loch March has progressed beautifully. That’s the natural progression in the last 30 years, combined with our very conscious effort to improve it each and every year. We’re a very different golf course today than the day we opened.
I look back on the thirty years and there are a number of things that I’m proud of. I’m proud of the key employees that came on board with Loch March on day 1; Sid and Danielle who I’ve watched just fly. I have watched their tremendous careers. In my estimation they are the best at what they do and to see these two individuals have the success for their hard work and dedication, to see the honest and true love that they have for Loch March, I am very, very touched.
I also look back and think that getting together with these two and what we’ve been able to contribute to golf in this area – bringing in an exclusively public golf course in a resort atmosphere. That, with the conditioning and quality that I believe, looking back at the three big private courses in town shortly after we opened, (made them) rebuild themselves. Looking over their shoulders and seeing this exclusively public golf course with bent grass tees, greens and fairways; I think they implemented hosts and hostesses upon their guest’s arrival and their members arrival. I think we influenced golf, the experience of golf for the public in this area in a very positive way over the past thirty years.
As well as the many other functions that the golf course provides for private individuals and businesses and celebrating their events and momentous occasions at our beautiful facility at a golf course. Gosh, we have weddings now for the kids whose parents had their weddings here.
So, I’m very proud of how we’ve contributed to the community, what we’ve provided for the golfer, the venue we’ve provided for the exceptional employees to ply their trade; the use of the facility to promote and accommodate charities. Some of these charities are very near and dear to our family like the Ottawa Heart Institute; it’s been a wonderful experience.
It is a Great Day at Loch March. A good test of it is the weather we’ve had this spring and the weather has little to do with it. We are here and it is a great course – Come out and be part of it.